An artwork depicting the “chaos of Brexit” will hang in College from tomorrow, Thursday January 30.
The photomontage, measuring 9.2 metres by 5.7 metres and titled The Raft Project 2019, was created by the artist Rita Duffy in collaboration with communities from along the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The artwork is to hang on the side of the Trinity Long Room Hub building until February 19, after which it is to travel and be installed in several prominent locations in London and Paris.
The artwork is a re-invention of French painter Théodore Géricault’s oil on canvas, The Raft of the Medusa (1818-19), which depicts the shipwreck of French frigate Méduse in 1816.
The photomontage depicts a group of men on a raft in the middle of the ocean, with British and Irish flags, waving at the Titanic.
Describing the work, artist Rita Duffy says: “The ingredients for Irish stew lie scattered among vulnerable bodies, remnants of sectarian flags taken from Belfast lamp posts, wrap worn out muscle and bone. A man points to the horizon, wearing an image of the president of Bulgaria on his T-shirt and bearing a small pot of shamrock, he points us towards the future – a future beyond prejudice and nationalist obsession.”
The artwork has been described as reflecting the “the reality of border dwellers” on the island of Ireland. The Irish border has been a contentious issue during the Brexit negotiations, as the only land border between the UK and the European Union after Brexit.
Both sides have been keen to avoid customs checks that would necessitate infrastructure being erected on the border, something that would be unacceptable to many within the nationalist community. However, the UK has insisted that it should have the sovereignty to no longer follow EU regulations, which the EU have said will require some form of checks on good passing from the UK into the EU. The resulting compromise means that Northern Ireland will remain more closely aligned to EU regulations than the rest of the UK.
The UK is expected to leave the European Union on Friday, January 31. The UK is set to enter into a transition period, during which the country’s relationship with the EU will remain functionally the same. The transition period is due to last until the end of 2020, after which the relationship between the UK and the EU will be dictated by a potential future trade deal.